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Guaranteed minimum price agreed for organic lamb

The UK's leading organic livestock producer group has made a landmark agreement with meat supplier Dunbia Llanybydder on guaranteed minimum prices and premium for organic lamb. The objective of the agreement is to ensure a year-round supply of organic lamb and negate the need for imports.

The monthly premium prices agreed by Graig Producers and Dunbia will operate from January to May 2012 on all supplies of organic lamb to Dunbia's plant at Llanybydder in Wales, and will increase weekly. The minimum premium will run year-round.

“We hope this will give confidence to organic producers that it is worth producing finished organic lambs all year, but particularly in the period January to June,” said Paul Edwards, Managing Director of Dunbia's Llanybydder plant who supply organic meat to the national retail sector

The agreement was also welcomed by Bob Kennard, managing director of Graig Producers, who also viewed it as a confidence-building measure. “The main point is that these are guaranteed minimum figures. In reality, prices may well be above the levels we have agreed, but they should, together with a minimum organic premium, be viewed as a positive sign that the market continues to source UK organic lambs all year-round.

“We hope that our 400-plus farmer members will react positively to this commitment from Dunbia, and ensure production continues throughout the year. We are in no doubt that there is sufficient lamb being produced to supply the market throughout the year but farmers need to have confidence that the prices paid in the winter and spring reflect their increased costs of production.”

The organic lamb market has started to show signs of growth, after contracting following the financial crisis. Latest Kantar figures showed a modest growth in organic lamb sales of 0.4% in the year to August 2011.

Nigel Elgar, Director of Graig Producers saw this agreement as a sign of the future. “Collaboration along the supply chain can bring many benefits to all parties, and we believe this is the first step in that process”, he said.

Graig Producers is a collaborative livestock producer group working with several hundred sheep and beef farmers throughout England and Wales to supply the supermarkets with organic beef and lamb. It acts as a hub in the production wheel, helping to secure the best market for its members and identify new markets, add value and secure predictable prices. Economies of scale results in cost savings for its members.

Sue Fowler, Director of Organic Centre Wales, said: “We are delighted that Graig Producers have been able to secure this landmark agreement. It should significantly increase confidence amongst organic producers that their care and attention to organic management is being recognised through a higher price. It also helps the consumer significantly, in that those who want to buy local and organic can now do so all year round.

“This announcement coincides with Organic Centre Wales' annual conference which takes place this Thursday (27 October) at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd. We hope the conference will provide the perfect platform to build on this injection of confidence in the sector by providing an opportunity for organic farmers, producers and businesses to come together and discuss the issues they currently face and learn from one another's experiences.

“We look forward to welcoming organic businesses at all stages of the supply chain to our conference and sharing good practice in the sector.” read more   

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